File photo of former Pastrana mayor Ernesto Martillo who now faces an investigation by the Office of the Ombudsman for alleged graft and corruption.

Ex–mayor, other officials sued for issuing cheques to themselves

PASTRANA NEWS – An Ombudsman case has been filed by the local government here against former mayor Ernesto Martillo and eight other officials for issuing cheques in favour of themselves for ‘terminal leave pay’ before their terms ended.

Mayor Martillo allegedly issued a cheque worth P253,460.00 in favour of himself using an undated clearance, service record, and disbursement voucher on June 24, 2016.

Charged together with Martillo were his sister Evelyn Martillo Baclea–an and his niece Jocelyn Martillo Ala, both former Sanggunian Bayan members, including SB members Michael Pontejos, Gerardo Carian, and Joe Rex Tan who also received various amounts under different cheques.

Included as respondent in the Ombudsman complaint were former municipal accountant Rodolfo Sapra together with the municipal treasurer Eraño Calumag, both of whom later absconded from their positions.

Ex–mayor Martillo’s administrative assistant, Fructuoso Dagami, also received an amount of P78,767.00 through a cheque that was issued ‘ahead of the preparation of a disbursement voucher contrary to accounting rules’.

The respondents are now facing criminal as well as administrative proceedings for malversaion, graft and corruption, violation of accounting and auditing rules, grave misconduct, dishonesty, and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of government service.

‘Pastrana’s newly elected municipal officials inherited from ex–mayor Martillo a plethora of problems including a local government which was in total financial disarray’, new municipal Mayor Dr. Alvin T. Opiniano told the Visayan Business Post.

‘The municipality is investigating other anomalies that have come to light in this 5th class municipality after a recent audit was conducted on the town’s fiscal records’, he said.

Mayor Alvin Opiniano added that ‘those responsible for corruption in this town will ultimately answer for their crimes’.

Pastrana Rizal Monument, Philippine News
Pastrana, Leyte’s iconic Rizal Monument stands in front of the Town Hall, a mute witness to this municipality’s colorful administrative past. (Photo by VBP)